The ACCC claims “peer relationships” between Aussie ISPs will boost internet competition, improving hosted services to corporate customers, whilst creating a better end user online experience.

Telstra has recently inked a peer relationship with Vocus – an arrangement the ACCC has welcomed.

Peering arrangements allow ISPs to physically connect to other networks, exchanging internet traffic often without payment.

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, asserts ISP collaboration will birth downstream positive benefits, with transparency imperative:

“We welcome the recent agreement between Telstra and Vocus to enter into a peering arrangement”

“Gaining peering with other networks enables carriers to provide more competitive wholesale ‘transit’ services to other ISPs, which should have positive impacts in downstream markets including the corporate internet market”

“It is important that the big ISPs in particular publicise and apply their criteria in good faith, so that other providers have a transparent pathway to peering status, as they attain additional scale with the rollout of the NBN and other next generation fixed and mobile networks.”

Optus, Telstra and TPG have recently published their peer relationship criteria for other ISPs, outlining requirements to directly interconnect on a settlement free basis.

The ACCC has also issued an update about its assessment of competitiveness concerning internet interconnection services here.

Optus, Telstra, and TPG are known to have long-established peering relationships with each other (and Verizon).

To date, other ISPs had limited visibility to this criteria, to determine whether or not to enter a peering agreement.

Optus, Telstra and TPG also known to offer paid internet interconnection services (i.e. ‘transit)’ to other ISPs, allowing them to gain full connectivity to the wider internet.

Peering criterias can include geographic network reach, location of exchange points, minimum capacity requirements, and symmetry and volume of traffic exchanged.

Metrics are used to determine whether both parties will receive mutual benefit from a peering agreement.

Further information is available on the ACCC’s website here.